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Chinese biotech Harbour lands $85M to run cancer trials

2018-08-28
Shanghai-based biotech Harbour BioMed has raised $85 million (€73 million). The series B equips a leadership team that cut its teeth at top multinational drugmakers to advance autoimmune and cancer candidates through the clinic.

Harbour emerged in late in 2016 helmed by ex-Sanofi executives. Led by Jingsong Wang, M.D., Ph.D., Harbour pulled in $50 million from Chinese VCs and bought an Atlas Venture-backed antibody shop with operations in the U.S. and the Netherlands. Harbour added to its series A haul at the start of the year, positioning it to license the rights to two oncology programs.

That done, Harbour has secured a further $85 million to execute the next stage of its plan. GIC Private Limited, Singapore's sovereign wealth fund, led the round. The money will support clinical development of a HER2-CD3 bispecific antibody and an anti-PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitor.

Harbour picked up the Chinese rights to the bispecific antibody, GBR 1302, from Glenmark Pharmaceuticals for up to $120 million in upfront and milestone payments. Glenmark is trialling the candidate in HER2-positive cancers in the expectation that it will orchestrate immune attacks against tumors with this genetic makeup. Harbour unveiled that deal earlier this month.

Two weeks later, the Chinese biotech disclosed another deal. The second agreement gave Harbour the ex-China rights to an anti-PD-L1 drug for up to $350 million in upfront and milestone payments. Kelun Biotech has advanced the checkpoint inhibitor as far as phase 2 in China.

Harbour has ceded a huge head start to leading checkpoint inhibitors such as Keytruda and Opdivo but sees value in owning a PD-L1 antibody for use in combinations. Equipped with the series B cash, Harbour plans to pair the checkpoint inhibitor with other drugs in its still-emerging clinical-phase pipeline, and with assets in development at its partners.

The cancer assets, plus an in-licensed anti-FcRn autoimmune drug, are the most advanced internal programs in development at Harbour, but they represent just a slice of its activities. The biotech has used the platforms it gained in the takeover of Harbour Antibodies to kickstart its internal early-stage research activities and land agreements with companies including BeiGene.

“During the one and half years since we established operations, Harbour has successfully expanded its network of collaborations for its core transgenic mouse technologies, rapidly built an innovative pipeline through internal discovery and in-licensed development stage programs in the areas of oncology and immunology, and established an experienced and professional team,” Harbour CEO Jingsong Wang said in a statement.

Harbour’s combination of executives fresh from senior positions at Boehringer Ingelheim, Novartis and Sanofi, buckets of cash from Asian VCs and a broad, ambitious R&D program makes it part of a growing clutch of Chinese biotechs making waves on the world stage.

 

 

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Shanghai-based biotech Harbour BioMed has raised $85 million (€73 million). The series B equips a leadership team that cut its teeth at top multinational drugmakers to advance autoimmune and cancer candidates through the clinic.

Harbour emerged in late in 2016 helmed by ex-Sanofi executives. Led by Jingsong Wang, M.D., Ph.D., Harbour pulled in $50 million from Chinese VCs and bought an Atlas Venture-backed antibody shop with operations in the U.S. and the Netherlands. Harbour added to its series A haul at the start of the year, positioning it to license the rights to two oncology programs.

That done, Harbour has secured a further $85 million to execute the next stage of its plan. GIC Private Limited, Singapore's sovereign wealth fund, led the round. The money will support clinical development of a HER2-CD3 bispecific antibody and an anti-PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitor.

Harbour picked up the Chinese rights to the bispecific antibody, GBR 1302, from Glenmark Pharmaceuticals for up to $120 million in upfront and milestone payments. Glenmark is trialling the candidate in HER2-positive cancers in the expectation that it will orchestrate immune attacks against tumors with this genetic makeup. Harbour unveiled that deal earlier this month.

Two weeks later, the Chinese biotech disclosed another deal. The second agreement gave Harbour the ex-China rights to an anti-PD-L1 drug for up to $350 million in upfront and milestone payments. Kelun Biotech has advanced the checkpoint inhibitor as far as phase 2 in China.

Harbour has ceded a huge head start to leading checkpoint inhibitors such as Keytruda and Opdivo but sees value in owning a PD-L1 antibody for use in combinations. Equipped with the series B cash, Harbour plans to pair the checkpoint inhibitor with other drugs in its still-emerging clinical-phase pipeline, and with assets in development at its partners.

The cancer assets, plus an in-licensed anti-FcRn autoimmune drug, are the most advanced internal programs in development at Harbour, but they represent just a slice of its activities. The biotech has used the platforms it gained in the takeover of Harbour Antibodies to kickstart its internal early-stage research activities and land agreements with companies including BeiGene.

“During the one and half years since we established operations, Harbour has successfully expanded its network of collaborations for its core transgenic mouse technologies, rapidly built an innovative pipeline through internal discovery and in-licensed development stage programs in the areas of oncology and immunology, and established an experienced and professional team,” Harbour CEO Jingsong Wang said in a statement.

Harbour’s combination of executives fresh from senior positions at Boehringer Ingelheim, Novartis and Sanofi, buckets of cash from Asian VCs and a broad, ambitious R&D program makes it part of a growing clutch of Chinese biotechs making waves on the world stage.